23 June 2015, Lagos – Indigenous meter manufacturers have raised the alarm over what they described as deliberate neglect of their products by power distribution companies.
The manufacturers, who spoke to our correspondent in separate interviews on Monday, noted that the current neglect by the Discos was a huge threat to their operations and was capable of throwing those of them who had invested massively in the production of the meters into financial crisis.
The Executive Secretary, Electricity Meter Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Muyideen Ibrahim, told our correspondent that the firms were facing hard times at the moment as demand for their products was nothing to write home about.
He said it was unfortunate that in the midst of the huge metering deficiency in the country, the Discos and other stakeholders had chosen to neglect the local manufacturers because of their appetite for foreign-made meters.
Ibrahim called on the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene by implementing the local content law so that the spate of estimated billing, which he said had been so enticing to the power distribution companies, would be checked.
Similarly, the Chairman, Momas Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company Limited, Mr. Kola Balogun, said the low patronage of local manufacturers, if not checked, could result in massive lay-off of workers.
Balogun, whose company produces meters from the brain stage to the final output, said although a minority of the Discos were buying from them, upfront payments were not usually made, which had resulted in rising debt profiles.
“Our Discos prefer to make upfront payments to foreign companies, but will want us to supply them on credit. This is not fair,” he lamented.
According to him, there is a need for the electricity distribution firms to buy meters in bulk from local manufacturers so that the industry can grow and employ more Nigerians.
Balogun said the manufacturers were faced with rising cases of worker and machine idleness.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission had said it would not allow the importation of electricity meters into the country as long as local manufacturers had the capacity to meet the demand.
NERC said it was committed to promoting local content in the nascent private sector-driven power sector, adding that there were huge business opportunities in the sector.